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Losing Belly Fat
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE posted:
Hello Everyone,
Losing belly fat seems to be a popular topic these days (in anticipation of beach season?). There are a couple of points to keep in mind.

1. SPOT REDUCE. Unfortunately you cannot spot reduce or target a specific area of your body for fat reduction (e.g., you can't do abdominal exercises and expect to burn fat on your abdomen). It would be nice if you could get on the Elliptical machine and say, "Okay, today, burn fat from my thighs," or, "Okay situps, get rid of my love handles," but that's not how it works. Resistance exercises will tone the muscle under the excess fat, and they can even help tighten you up enough to lose a pants size (without losing any weight), but it will not reduce the fat.

The thing to do is aerobic and resistance exercise. Probably 4-5 days per week for 30-40 minutes of aerobic and 2-3 days of resistance. The resistance exercise should include large muscle group exercises like squats and deadlifts (ask a trainer at you gym for instruction on these exercises). Aerobic exercise will burn lost of calories to help decrease body fat and resistance exercise will build muscle, which will help raise metabolic rate. You could add interval training to improve your fitness quickly and burn more calories. (I will add more about interval training in the next Tip)

For general nutrition and diet questions click here

and for all of the diet clubs click here

3. You can't spot reduce but you can strengthen muscles which will tighten muscles under excess fat. In fact, even if you didn't lose any weight exercise will help you tighten up and reduce your waist. Definitely worth the effort because you get waist-reducing results, and physique improving results like this very quickly (certainly faster than losing lots of weight). I will post ab exercises in another thread.

4. A word about health. There is belly fat below the skin (subcutaneous) and deeper fat around the organs (visceral fat). Visceral fat is unhealthier the subcutaneous, and the good news is that it reduces very quickly with exercise. You don't see a reduction in your waist with a reduction in visceral fat (you need to lose subcutaneous fat for that), but it definitely improves health and reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and more.

If you have more questions about reducing belly fat post them to the exercise and fitness exchange.

See the Interval Training post and Abdominal Exercise post for more information about exercise to help you manage belly fat.

Take care,
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40lbs responded:
Hello Rich,
I'm a 48 year old female, weighing 202lbs. I read a lot of fitness magazines and love to exercise. I am also an emotional eater and have gained 25lbs in the last year. I know I can lose the weight but I'm having problems with the "emotional eating" and the fact that I don't have anyone in my life that is interested in working out. I have every intention on going to the fitness center (5 minutes away) but often lose motivation and will hit the freezer for the ice cream instead. My eating schedule is off and my partner who is a good cook, loves his fried foods and sweets, Blah. I eat healthy except for the ice cream and I can eat plenty of that and some sweets that I think are lower in calories. I am a mess here. I'm sure you have some good advice for me. I am also interested in knowing what is a safe amount of calories to burn a day? Is 1000 calories burned a day too much (for me)? Also does 3000 calories burned equal 1lb weight loss? And if so, why aren't fitness magazines talking about this more often? I know people who think that if they've been on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then get on a scale that they should see some change, believe it or not.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to 40lbs's response:
Hi 40,

I recommmend you read the book, "From the First Bite" by Kay Shepphard. It's sort of a 12-step program for food addicts. It does make reference to a higher power. If that's not what you believe you can ignore those parts because the book still has much to offer. I recommend for general nutrition and diet questions click here

and for all of the diet clubs click here

As for 1000 calories a day to burn, that's a lot. I recommend you make it much more reasonable and do 30 mintes of cardio 3-4 times a week and resistance exercise 2-3 days a week. There are 3500 calories in a pound.
I suggest you set up a weekly schedule and write down the time of day, minutes of activity, and the activity. Be as specific as possible. If you miss session get right back on track. When you do miss a session have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself about whathappoened and challenge that thinking. "Is it true I "had" to miss or could I have negotiated this with myself?" You can post those thoughts to the exchange here and you'll get support. My guess is you have the motiavtion but not the plan. Keep at it and everytime you make amistake learn form it, and over time, you will adopt the behavior. Quitting never helps. Successful people rebound froma dversity. You can too.
40lbs replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Thanks Rich. I will get the book and get the plan. You've been very helpful. God bless you.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to 40lbs's response:
You're very welcome. Let me know what you think of the book. Rich

Helpful Tips

Interval TrainingExpert
Hello Everyone, I mentioned in my Losing Belly Fat post that aerobic exercise will help, and if you want to increase your fitness quickly ... More
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